Affidavit: Man stole friend's massive 'Star Wars' collection to - KPTV - FOX 12

Affidavit: Man stole friend's massive 'Star Wars' collection to pay debt

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A man stole his friend's massive collection of Star Wars toys and memorabilia to pay off a debt, according to court documents.

Police were contacted about thousands of dollars worth of collectibles stolen from a Vancouver home on Oct. 23.

The owner, Rich Bates, told FOX 12 he was away on a business trip, and when he returned, much of his collection was gone.

According to court documents, the Star Wars items were behind two locked doors.

The following day, the owner of Showroom Collectibles learned the collection ended up in his shop.

Store owner Chris Erickson said he had no idea the items were stolen. He said the man who brought them in told him he got them from his uncle and they had just been sitting in a closet.

Erickson provided investigators with a copy of a Washington driver's license for the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Benjamin Milam, according to court documents.

A probable cause affidavit states when an officer contacted Milam by phone, he replied, "I screwed up."

The affidavit states Milam told police he owed a debt and knew of the collection because he had stayed on Bates' couch from time to time.

Milam said he managed to get through the locked door and then made three to four trips to Showroom Collectibles to sell off the collection until he reached the dollar amount needed to pay his debt, according to court documents.

Milam was arraigned in court Monday on charges of residential burglary, theft and trafficking in stolen property. He also had a fugitive warrant from another agency. His bail was set at $10,000.

Erickson said when he was contacted about the stolen Star Wars merchandise in his shop, he pulled it off the shelves and worked to recover what had already been sold to customers.

Bates told FOX 12 on Monday he is just happy to have his prized memorabilia back. He said he had allowed Milam to crash at his home while Milam looked for a place of his own.

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    A Vancouver man's collection of star wars memorabilia, that was decades in the making, was stolen from his own home.   Only to wind up on the shelves of a collectible shop down the street.  The owner of Showroom Collectibles, Chris Erickson, is adamant he had no idea any of that Star Wars memorabilia was stolen.More >
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